Actor and writer Michael Boatman is known for his roles in the hit shows Spin City, The Good Wife, and The Good Fight. His extensive career in the entertainment industry provides him with invaluable insight into the world of film. His love for storytelling transcends portraying characters on the silver screen, reaching the literary world and taking it by storm. In The Good Fight, Michael plays a Republican lawyer at an all-black law firm. In an in-depth conversation with QG, he talks about his role on The Good Fight, writing and what we can look forward to from him in the future.
Tell us about The Good Fight and your character’s role.
MB: The Good Fight is a spinoff of The Good Wife. We follow the great Christine Baranski, who plays Diane Lockhart in The Good Fight, and The Good Wife fans will remember her as Alicia’s boss. Well, in The Good Fight she’s ready to retire from her law firm in Chicago, and she’s just purchased a house in the south of France. She thinks she is going to be doing this under the auspices of a female president, Hillary Clinton, who she was a big supporter of.
The Good Fight takes place in the real world that we all woke up to when Donald Trump was elected. In the meantime, she learns that her retirement she saved and squirreled away has been taken from her by a good friend, who turns out to be the father of her goddaughter who was played by Rose Leslie.
And so she’s broke and rather than living in the retirement she fantasized, she has to go back to work. She finds herself at the only historically black law firm in Chicago, which is run by Delroy Lindo‘s character. The three partners in the law firm are Joe, Barbara and my character Julius Cain. She’s hired in what is essentially a majority-black law firm, and we’re kind of off from there.
How interesting was having a black law firm in the show ?
MB: It was very interesting. I think that it was such a brilliant choice of the writers and creators of the show, Robert and Michelle King, to set Christine Baranski in this realm. They brought all of their writing talent, production quality, and production value of The Good Wife to this predominantly black show.
Can you provide some backstory about your character’s rude behavior towards associates and him being an African American Republican?
MB: Well, the first part with the associates, Julius, my character, is somebody who definitely believes in the hierarchy of the law firm. You’re an associate; I’m a partner, and that’s it.
Concerning the conservative part, when they reveal to me at the beginning of the first season that Julius is going to be a Trump supporter, it was shocking. They did in The Good Fight what every actor wants, which is to flesh out the character. And with a little more information, we find out that Julius has six kids, and then that he’s Catholic. The job was to find a way to be able to relate to that.
How has the industry changed from your time in Spin City to where you are now?
MB:The biggest change to me between Spin City and The Good Fight in terms of the industry, certainly television, is streaming. At the time I was doing Spin City, the big concern was cable and how it can compete with HBO. And so from Spin City to today, I think it’s great for people like me in the sense that there are more jobs and opportunities with streaming, cable and all of these platforms for content.
You are also a writer. What inspired you to write?
MB:When I was a kid, I was addicted to books. I loved science fiction, horror and fantasy. I think I read Lord of The Rings when I was nine years old, and I was stuck in that kind of world. But I had never written anything until about 1996 when I suffered a freak accident at home that left me sitting on my butt for 12 weeks because I couldn’t walk.
And so I wrote a short story, and then I started working on this big, alien invasion novel that took me seven years to write. Also never really got published, but the next three novels I wrote did get published. I discovered what I think was probably my first love which was storytelling. And so for me, being an actor and a writer are really connected in interesting ways.
What can we look forward to from you?
MB: Well, I’ve got season four of The Good Fight coming up. We start production in October, and I’m thinking about trying my hand at stand up comedy.
Boatman masterfully tells stories through character portrayals on-screen as he does in his novels. He is a true storyteller in every sense of the word. While you’re waiting for season 4 to air, get caught up on season 1-3 of The Good Fight on CBS All Access.